No stand­ing pol­icy

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

STAND­ING on the aisles of pas­sen­ger buses when the ve­hi­cle is full is com­mon prac tice in the cur­rent pub­lic trans­port setup. In some buses, hav­ing pas­sen­gers stand­ing on the aisles is even part of the ve­hi­cles’ de­sign. Thus, hand grips are pro­vided for those pas­sen­gers who pre­fer to board the bus even if the ve­hi­cle is full.

This is true mainly for big­ger ve­hi­cles. Pas­sen­ger util­ity jeep­neys (PUJs) are smaller and the dis­tance from the floor to the roof is lower, which does not al­low stand­ing on the aisle. Pas­sen­gers who in­sist on rid­ing even if PUJs are full thus end up hold­ing onto the grab bar while stand­ing on the steps of the jeep­ney’s rear door.

The more en­ter­pris­ing PUJ driv­ers in­tro­duced years ago the wooden stool that they placed on the aisle for the ex­cess pas­sen­gers to sit on. Some­times, the stools could ac­com­mo­date two pas­sen­gers sit­ting back-to-back while hold­ing on to the grab bar. Two stools would mean four ex­tra pas­sen­gers, plus those stand­ing on the steps of the rear door (two at most).

For jeep­neys fol­low­ing the moun­tain routes, pas­sen­gers can even be seen sit­ting on the roof of the ve­hi­cle, a very dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion con­sid­er­ing the in­clines and the rough­ness of the roads they tra­verse. The roof is also where the car­goes are placed.

That over­load­ing is bad is ob­vi­ous. It’s not only about the dis­com­fort but also the dan­ger the prac­tice poses on pas­sen­gers. A ve­hi­cle de­signed to carry only 30 pas­sen­gers but loaded with 60 is dif­fi­cult to steer and con­trol and is thus ac­ci­dent-prone. Pas­sen­gers sit­ting on the roof could fall, and those stand­ing on the aisle of buses could lose con­trol of their hold on the hand grips dur­ing sud­den turns or when they are tired or sleepy.

Disal­low­ing stand­ing on the aisles of buses ply­ing routes more than 15 kilo­me­ters is there­fore a good move, although one won­ders if this is well stud­ied and could be im­ple­mented fully. It does not go into the root of the prob­lem of over­load­ing, which is the lack of pub­lic trans­porta­tion in most routes.

Un­less that is ad­dressed fully, the move will end up be­ing like a cat-and-mouse game be­tween the driv­ers of pub­lic util­ity ve­hi­cles and the com­muters on one side and the im­ple­ment­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies on the other.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.